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Lancaster schools take action after infant found in trash - abc27 WHTM

Lancaster schools take action after infant found in trash

Posted: Updated:
Cherlie LaFleur (submitted) Cherlie LaFleur (submitted)
LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) -

Officials in the School District of Lancaster are taking action after the arrest of a student accused of leaving her infant in a restroom trash can at McCaskey East High School.

The infant was discovered Tuesday night by a janitor.

Lancaster County Coroner Stephen Diamantoni said the infant boy had been carried 27-28 weeks and was capable of surviving had he been born in a hospital.

Police said the mother, 19-year-old Cherlie LaFleur, tried to flush the infant down a toilet before she wrapped it up and put it in the trash can.

LeFleur was being held in the Lancaster County Prison in lieu of $1 million bail on a misdemeanor charge of concealing the death of a child. If convicted, she could spend up to five years in prison.

But if the coroner discovers the fetus was born alive, she would face additional charges.

"We'd look at potential different avenues if the baby was alive, but right now, they can't give us that information and this charge is what's appropriate under those facts right now," Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said. "Regardless of whether it was born alive or still born, it shouldn't take a statute for people to know you can't do this."

Diamantoni said determining whether the baby was born dead or alive is difficult.

"Sometimes that's very challenging," said Diamantoni. "One indication would be whether or not air entered the baby's lungs, if it took a breath."

It could take weeks for test results to come back. In the meantime, the district is offering counseling to students.

"The District's first and foremost priority is the health and well-being of our students. We appreciate the community's support in ensuring all of our children are physically, socially and emotionally safe," district officials said in a statement.

"For anyone impacted by this tragedy or other life-altering event, McCaskey offers many student services including a Teen Elect program to support students who are pregnant and both male and female students who are parenting. In addition, trained mental health professionals provide on-site counseling services," officials said. "Our Community Education Liaisons are available to connect families with needed resources. Any student, staff, community or family member can make a referral to these services by contacting their child's school or our Coordinator of School, Family and Community Partnerships at 396-6501."

Diamantoni also suggested a program offered by Lancaster General Health. For more information on that, visit http://www.lancastergeneralhealth.org/LGH/Our-Services/Wellness-Center/Healthy-Weight-Management-(1)/Healthy-Beginnings-Plus.aspx.

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